The tournament scene in South Florida is pretty special. Although there are many great fishing destinations across the Eastern Seaboard, Florida’s climate allows us to fish year-round. Competing at such a high level where seasons and species overlap certainly keeps us busy and takes a toll on our bodies, but it’s also hard on our equipment. That is why I’ve become extremely selective with the companies and products relied upon to succeed in such demanding environments.
Looking back, it’s incredible to think what’s progressed from tournament fishing aboard a twin-outboard powered center console, to the new Native Son, a SeaVee 390Z with state-of-the-art everything. With experience owning 320B and 340I models, as well as running the 390Z Liquid for the past six tournament seasons, I have great confidence and respect for SeaVee. For the way we fish in Florida, there is no other option and I couldn’t be more excited about the future.
At SeaVee, the extensive lineup of center consoles is precision built with hand-laid fiberglass and a four-stringer structural system with PVC core and urethane transoms. When it comes to topside areas where hardware mounting and the center console come into design, foams consisting of urethane and PVC, or embedded with aluminum, offer stiffness for the mounting of rod holders, outrigger bases, gas shocks and livewells.
Fishing with live bait is a huge part of what we do in South Florida and the 390Z has no shortage of capacity for live bait. Starting at the transom of Native Son you’ll find an 80 gallon oval livewell with acrylic lid. Behind the leaning post are two in-deck livewells comprising 80 and 60 gallons. Forward of the console is yet another 80 gallon in-deck well. You may think this is overkill, but it’s important to separate species like herring, goggle eye, tinker mackerel, sardines and speedo to eliminate stress and ensure they are as happy and healthy as can be. As if that’s not enough, the boat is also plumbed for two auxiliary 100 gallon round tanks for when we’re catching and transporting bait in mass quantities.
Having the capacity for copious amounts of bait is meaningless if your vessel isn’t equipped with a sufficient pump system. Best Marine Products has this task more than covered and designed two custom pump boxes each capable of efficiently moving 6,000 gallons an hour all while enabling the reduction in velocity of water flow to the individual livewells to suit the various preferences of different forage species.
Today's multifunction marine electronics will absolutely blow your mind. Leading the way in every aspect is Raymarine. Native Son will feature an Axiom Pro 9 in the tower and matching Axiom Pro 16 units at the console. Incorporating HD open array radar, CHIRP sonar with RealVision 3D and much more, Axiom puts more information at my fingertips than ever before. As if that’s not enough, Raymarine has partnered with FLIR to add yet another exciting feature to Native Son.
When you're building a boat as special as this, you simply must ensure she shine can light up the night. That is why I rely on Aqualuma LED underwater lights, as nothing else compares in quality and brightness with industry-leading fixture lumens.
To power a beast like this, there is but one option. Mercury Marine leads the industry in looks, technology, efficiency, reliability and power to weight ratio. The 350 hp Verado is in a class of its own and Native Son will sport four of these supercharged powerhouses on her transom! She will top out in the mid 70s and even more impressively will burn about 1 mile per gallon at 50 mph. This is even with the added drag of a 40-inch gap tower artfully crafted by Pipe Designs. Not only does this Miami-based fabricator design beautiful towers with clean lines, but their weld beads are impeccable which results in a finished product with unparalleled structural durability.
With an extraordinary combination of beauty and brawn, then you'd better try to play the part, too! SCALES produces a line of technical apparel that will hold up to anything my team can throw at it. The Pro Performance™ longlseeve shirts incorporate two lines of protection against both stains and antimicrobials. Never before have I seen a shirt with such impressive repellency against fish blood, oil and water-based stains without impacting the look, feel or breathability of the fabric.
Native Son is set to be unveiled at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
See you there! -Art